Australia: 'Google dominance in online ads harms biz'

Google dominance in Australia online advertising harms businesses: Regulator

Over 90% of clicks on ads traded through the Australian 'ad tech' supply chain passed through at least one Google service in 2020, a report said

The Alphabet Inc owned company benefited from vast amounts of internet user data from its search engine, mapping and YouTube. Credit: AFP Photo

Google dominates Australia's online advertising market to the point of harming publishers, advertisers and ultimately consumers, the country's antitrust regulator said, calling for new rules to rein in the Big Tech giant.

A report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), published on Tuesday, said more than 90 per cent of clicks on advertisements traded through the Australian "ad tech" supply chain passed through at least one Google service in 2020.

A Google spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

"Google has used its vertically integrated position to operate its ad tech services in a way that has, over time, led to a less competitive ad tech industry," ACCC Chair Rod Sims said in a statement, released alongside the report.

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"This conduct has helped Google to establish and entrench its dominant position in the ad tech supply chain. We recommend rules be considered to manage conflicts of interest, prevent anti-competitive self-preferencing, and ensure rival ad tech providers can compete on their merits."

The Alphabet Inc owned company benefited from vast amounts of internet user data from its search engine, mapping and YouTube video streaming services, and must be more transparent about the way it uses this information to sell advertisements, the regulator said.

The regulator said it wanted special powers to address the imbalance of advertiser access to consumer data, such as rules forcing them to separate data between business units or share data with competitors.

The "ad tech" report was part of the ACCC's wider examination of online platforms which earlier this year prompted Google to threaten to withdraw core services from the country over laws forcing it to pay for media content that drives traffic to its website.

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